Toward an Ever More Data-Literate Future

Data literacy is not a new concept in education. Teachers and school leaders are constantly processing data—on student behavior, attendance, performance on assessments, district- and state-level data, etc.—and utilizing it to improve student and school outcomes. What is new, though, is the burgeoning amount of data now generated by district- and state-wide data systems, think tanks, research and policy organizations, and multiple other sources including schools themselves. The Data Quality Campaign (DQC) has been leading the push for equitable access to this information—and the push to develop educators who can filter out the “white noise” and home in on the data that are relevant to their classrooms and schools.

Over the last year and a half, AACTE has been part of a working group convened by DQC to develop a definition of a data-literate educator and to develop policy recommendations to support the development of data-literate educators. On February 4, AACTE President/CEO Sharon Robinson and I participated on panels at an afternoon-long event with DQC to release Teacher Data Literacy: It’s About Time, which captures much of the working group’s progress. Numerous other organizations participated in the working group with AACTE, including the American Association of School Administrators, Council of Chief State School Officers, National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification, National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and National Council on Teacher Quality.

At the release event, Sharon and I highlighted work that has long been under way at schools, colleges, and departments of education to develop data-savvy new teachers as well as to emphasize how state policies—such as on clinical preparation, induction, and performance-based initial licensure—can continue to support this work.

You can view Sharon’s panel with Ellen Mandinach of WestEd and Paige Kowalski of DQC here (their panel starts at 49:13). You can watch my panel with Holly Boffy of CCSSO, Sandi Jacobs of NCTQ, Adriane Dorrington of NEA, and Brennan Parton of DQC here (our panel starts at 1:16:50).

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Mary Harrill

Senior Director, Higher Education Accreditation and Program Support National Association for the Education of Young Children